I love playing around in the kitchen and I’m not afraid to try new things. Within reason, of course. I’m not eating anything too exotic, but I like unique flavor combinations and will give just about anything a try. I often get ideas for my meals by looking over restaurant menus like with the Black Sticky Rice or the Tofu Yum Yum Bowl.
Honestly as a single mom with college looming, many of my creations come out of a need to budget and not spend money on eating at expensive restaurants or buying prepared meals. Most times you can get a lot more servings with the same ingredients making it on your own than what you’d get paying someone else. I look over fancy restaurant menus for some of my ideas and even just in the grocery store at times.
Last week I was at the store and wandering the frozen aisle when I saw Kashi’s Mayan Harvest Bake. Confession, I was shopping hungry so I could have been under the influence there but the picture on the front looked amazing! The price tag under the box was not quite as amazing. I did a quick flip of the box, read the description, looked at the ingredients and decided to make my own.
Copycat Mayan Harvest Bake
- 1/2 cup (98g) uncooked amaranth
- 1 ripe plantain (140g)
- 1/2 cup (50g) yellow onion, diced
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 2 Tbsp (33g) tomato paste
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 Tbsp ancho chile powder
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 6 cups (160g) baby kale
- 15 oz can butternut squash
- 1 cup (152g) black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/4 cup (30g) pepitas
Prepare the amaranth according to directions and set aside. My directions were to mix 1/2 cup of the amaranth with 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 20 minutes.
Heat a pan over medium heat and spray with non-stick spray. Add the plantains and cook, flipping as needed, until browned and softened. Remove from pan. Spray the pan again with non-stick spray, and add the onions and garlic. Saute for about 2 – 3 minutes until the onion softens. Stir in the tomato paste, water , chile powder, paprika and salt. Mix well to combine. Heat just until the sauce begins to thicken and remove from heat.
Divide the cooked amaranth evenly onto 4 plates. Top with the kale, squash, and black beans into layers. Drizzle on the sauce, add the plantains, and sprinkle with pepitas.
Makes 4 servings at approximately 322 calories each – 12g protein, 55g carbs, 6g fat.
- I opted to go with butternut squash instead of sweet potatoes that were used in the Kashi version. I had a can of butternut squash at home already and I didn’t see any reason to buy sweet potatoes just for the heck of it. If you’d like your version to be closer to the original, you can roast sweet potatoes cubes to sub in for the squash.
- If you’ve never tried amaranth, you may find it interesting. It’s a grain that isn’t commonly used here in the US. Uncooked amaranth is very finely textured, like a smaller grain version of couscous. Once you cook it, the texture reminds me of that sticky moon sand stuff from the infomercial. LOL. It tastes pretty bland like quinoa so it won’t overpower whatever you serve it with.
As you can see, there were changes made since I only had the list of ingredients from the box and not an exact recipe. I also left out pieces like the Kashi pilaf and polenta. I can’t say how close this dish tastes to the Kashi version since I never bought the real thing. I can tell you that I really enjoyed the flavor combination and was excited to have leftovers the next day. I got 4 servings from less than the price of one box of Kashi’s.
The ancho chile sauce was one of the best parts and I had that later drizzled on grilled chicken breasts and also used it as a salad dressing. I’ll definitely make the sauce again for other uses. Maybe even a Mayan Enchilada Bake! 🙂
Have you ever tried to recreate a dish you’ve seen on a menu or at the grocery store?